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A morning in Maboneng

Kathryn from Portfolio recently spent a day exploring the streets and suburbs of Johannesburg and discovered the incredible art and architecture that the City of Gold has to offer...

Having only really flown in and out of OR Tambo airport to the Kruger, or been shuttled to and from a meeting or event, I had never really got around to spending much time in the city of Joburg.

Along with so many before me, I was of the opinion that there was not too much on offer besides the historical sites of Vilakazi Street, The Apartheid Museum and Gold Reef City. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there is so much more to the city.

An area I was keen to explore was the Maboneng Precinct. On arriving at the airport I found my way to the Gautrain station and hopped aboard to Sandton where I changed to Park Station. Once I arrived I quickly ordered an Uber and it arrived within 5 minutues to whisk me off to explore this vibrant new precinct...

One of my favourite discoveries was a secret garden high above the streets of Johannesburg. Tia Kaya is a lush oasis of vertical garden walls, quirky floral arrangements and sweet succulents all with a view over the urban landscape of downtown Joburg - the perfect place to host an event.

This inner city area, which has recently been privately developed, is known as an up-and-coming creative community with an abundance of artists in residence, trendy coffee shops and dynamic street art.

Maboneng started out as Arts on Main, when old warehouses were renovated to create artists’ studio space. Now it is a mixed-use creative hub that consists of artists’ studios, galleries, eateries, museums and various retail spaces. It is a unique environment for the city’s creative community to develop and share ideas and engage in multiple innovative experiences in one venue.

Artists with studios at Arts on Main include William Kentridge, Mikhael Subotzky and Kim Lieberman, and art galleries include GoetheOnMain, NIROXprojects, David Krut Projects and the new Museum of African Design.

Look out for quirky shops like LoveJozi and Black Coffee, visit the vibrant Market on Main which takes place every Sunday. Be sure to pop into one of the trendy coffee shops to refuel.

I spent a few hours wandering the streets to capture the scenes on my camera and clambering stairs to see things from above!

An aspect I fell in love with was the impressive expanses of graffiti that covered the sides of the buildings. They left me wondering how on earth the street artists create these masterpieces? Just the logistics of getting up high enough, let alone being able to paint at this scale with spray paint. Staggering!

The bonus is that, even if you only have a morning in Joburg, it's easy to explore this edgy area in just a few hours. So if you're flying in and out of OR Tambo airport and are looking for something to do to pass the hours between your flights why not hop aboard the Gautrain and catch an Uber to spend a morning in Maboneng. Allow about 1 hour for travel either way and 2 - 3 hours to explore.

Alternatively if you're keen to spend a few extra days in the city click here to book your accommodation in Johannesburg

Contact Details

Main Street Life, 286 Fox Street, City and Suburban

072 880 9583

Images & Text: Kathryn Rossiter